Please read Revelation 18. Material from this chapter is parenthetical and goes with chapters 16 and 19. As we come to the end of chapter 17 we see that the Antichrist and his henchmen (the ten kings under him) will destroy the one world false religious system (the Harlot), after it serves his purposes of uniting the world, and will demand that all mankind worship him as God (Rev. 17:16-18; Rev. 13; 2 Thess. 2:4).
18: 1-3 – Here we see both the reason for God’s judgment and the results of God’s judgment of the alliance of evil government (Antichrist) and evil people (political and business leaders) that are ruled by lust and greed. And the city becomes a ghost town filled with demons and vultures (because of all the death); and not just Babylon but “the cities of the nations” all over the world (Rev. 16:19).
“Come out of her My people:” – Though the church will be Raptured before the Tribulation here the Lord speaks to the many Jews and Gentiles who come to Christ in the Tribulation (See Rev. 7) and are sealed by His protection during this time of great persecution and death. Both the Old and New Testaments call God’s people to be separate from the world system and Jesus tells us in John 17:14-16 to be in the world but not of the world. We are to be in the world to glorify God, witness to the lost, and work (as a means of God’s provision), but we are not to be of the world in the sense of pursuing material things more than God (Matt. 6:19-24). “Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage-to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last (for all eternity), gaining life that is truly life.” (1 Tim. 6:17-19 – The Msg.) God will judge godless business dealings and that applies to believers and unbelievers as seen here in Revelation. Scripture calls us to “judge ourselves rightly” so we will not have to be judged by God (See 1 Cor. 11:27-32).
18:8-11; 14-18 – “Weeping and mourning” – The kings (world leaders), merchants and sea captains (shipping elite) will mourn over the loss of business. Though God delays his judgment (2 Peter 3:9), when it does come, it can come suddenly. “In one hour your doom has come! Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine.” Jesus spoke about sudden judgment in the parable of the rich fool: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” The rich fool said to himself: “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (See all of Luke 12: 16-21) We see a similar sudden judgment of King Belshazzar of Babylon in Daniel 5:22-31.
18:12-13 – In John’s day the city of wealth was Rome and what began as luxuries for the rich became necessities not unlike our times today. Here we see the list of their “needs” – by contemporary categories: The Jewelry department: “gold, silver, precious stones and pearls”; The clothing department: “fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth”; Expensive furnishings: “every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble”; The perfume and cosmetic department: “cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense”; The liquor department: ” wine and olive oil;” The pastry and dessert department: “fine flour and wheat;” The butcher shop: “cattle and sheep”; Transportation department: “horses and carriages”; The human resource department: ” bodies (slaves per KJV) and souls of men.” The rich certainly had slaves in John’s day and many people today have sold their soul to the company store, as the song goes.
18:20 – Mourning or Rejoicing – “Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you.'” As we age, the people who love the world more than God are moving further and further away from their “treasure” and mourning, but people who love God more than the world are moving closer and closer to their “treasure” and rejoicing in the hope of being with the Savior face to face for ever and ever. “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18) “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” (Psalm 73:25)
18:22-25 – The sound of silence. No music, no lights, no workman (craftsman), no industry, no manufacturing, no marrying – Not only will the great cities of commerce be filled with demons and vultures, they will be dark and deathly silent. There will be no sounds of music. The neon lights on Broadway will go out. The craftsmen will be out of work for no one will want their expensive handiwork. The sound of industry will cease its noisy hum. The joy and laughter of the bride and bridegroom will not be heard in the neighborhoods. But there will be music and marriage and rejoicing in heaven. Just in the past few years the king of Soul, James Brown died, the king of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley died and recently the king of Pop, Michael Jackson died. But the King of kings and Lord of lords is alive and well and will soon come and marry His bride and we will sing of His love for ever.
“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.” (Rev. 19:6-7)
Some of the key points of application God shows us through Revelation and the anti-God message through Babylon are:
*God’s ultimate judgment on people who oppose and reject Him.
*God’s warning of His destruction of all false religions, and all religions other than Christianity are works-based systems. Jesus is the only way to God and salvation (John 14:6).
*God’s warning against godless government – Don’t sell your soul to godless leaders who promise peace and prosperity in this life (as the Antichrist will do in the Tribulation).
*God’s warning against godless business dealings (James 5:1-9).
*The reliability of Scripture and God’s faithfulness to keep His Word.
*The prediction in Scripture (prophecy) of a radical upheaval in the present world order and God’s righteous wrath poured out on unrepentant people.
*The impossibility of sinful man to unite (in love and truth) without God (Matt. 10:34-38).
*God’s command for His people to be spiritual pioneers (go make disciples) versus “settling down” in Babylon (in this fallen world).
God created people to worship and glorify Him (Isa. 43:6-7) and if we refuse to worship the Creator, we will worship some part of His creation to our temporal and eternal loss whether it be an evil Satan-possessed Antichrist, or money, sex and power, etc.
Until He comes,
Len and Kristen
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